EBF 200
Introduction to Energy and Earth Sciences Economics

 

Summary and Final Tasks

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In this lesson, we introduced the issue of resource pessimism, aka Malthusianism, the idea that man's existence on the planet threatens nature, and that our continued existence on the planet is "unsustainable." We looked at an explication of this by Lester Brown, and we examined the opposite position, taken by the cornucopian Julian Simon, that life has gotten better on earth over time, and not worse. We looked at a number of historical resource scares, and what the actual outcomes were.

We then examined the idea that the United States should not import energy, but should instead consume only domestically sourced energy. There are several reasons that have been advanced as to why we might want to do this, and several reasons why we have not. We concluded by considering that if we did, for one reason or another, wish to substitute something else for imported crude oil, what would our options be? We looked at five existing options, and finished by considering that perhaps the most likely option is one that we are not aware of yet, as it has yet to be invented.

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